Second-Hand City

Top ten things parents should never buy pre-owned.

With the economy seeming to be at a standstill, it’s important to be frugal with funds. One way in doing so is by shopping for secondhand, or used, items. But not all things are created equal. Be sure to purchased the following items new.

1. Car Seats
Most car seats have an expiration date, and older seats may not meet new and improved safety regulations, according to Rookiemoms.com. Additionally, the plastic and internal parts of a used car seat may have been weakened by age, weather or a previous car crash, says About.com guide Susan Adcox.

2. Cribs
Like car seats, cribs may accrue damage, lose structural integrity over time and meet only outdated safety regulations. Sarah Chambers, owner of Before & After Baby Planning, reminds parents that cribs manufactured as recently as 2007 may still contain toxins like lead and formaldehyde in their paints and finishes.

3. Electric Breast Pumps
A breast pump may no longer function properly if the previous owner dropped it. In terms of safety, unlike hand pumps and hospital rental pumps, which are completely washable or have closed motors, most single-user electric breast pumps require replacement tubing and motor cleaning in order to be guaranteed safe for secondhand use. Though replacing the tubes and making repairs is possible, it is costly, usually making the purchase of a new pump the better option.

4. Crib Mattresses
Aside from the fact that cribs may harbor dust mites and bed bugs and bacteria, mattresses should be firm in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), reports www.lilsugar.com. A mattress that has been used has likely softened, making it both a SIDS and a suffocation hazard.

5. Soft Baby Carrier
As mentioned by Consumer Reports, sling-style and strap-on carriers have been subject to numerous safety recalls, particularly the former. Buckles and straps can also loosen and break as a result of previous use.

6. Play Yards
New safety standards and product recalls mean dated play yards may no longer be safe for use. Further, previous use may have weakened the structural integrity of the unit.

7. Shoes
Shoes are designed to mold to the feet of the wearer; therefore, secondhand shoes won’t fit your child’s feet quite right. This could not only cause temporary pain and discomfort, but also more serious problems as a result of extended use. Additionally, footwear can harbor contagious fungi.

8. Safety Gear
Much in the way that car seats can be damaged in even a single car accident and degrade in quality over time, helmets and other similar safety gear can become less safe with extended use. Even slight damage to protective gear can ultimately result in a crippling injury, making the cost of purchasing a new helmet well worth it.

9. Bottles
Hand-me-down baby bottles— particularly scratch-prone plastic ones— can contain harmful bacteria, according to Intobaby.com. Regardless, the nipples have to be replaced, and the cost of doing so is nearly as much as purchasing a new set of bottles.

10. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Most smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have a life span of up to ten and five years, respectively. Buying used ones could significantly reduce the amount of use you get out of them, not only costing you more money in the long run but endangering your family as well. And when it comes to the health of your family, it’s just not worth the risk.